How does this pilot work?
How is the competency-based business degree different from the existing business degree?
What about grades?
Who should choose the CBE business degree program?
What is the cost to students?
Who are the instructors who teach the courses?
What about accreditation?

Question: How does this pilot work?

Answer: A group of system colleges are funding the development of the 18 courses and the new enrollment processes.  The pilot colleges will adopt all 18 courses in the program and make them available to students.  Students will enroll at the college of their choice, and that college will collect tuition, fees and FTE dollars.

As the lead institution for this pilot, Columbia Basin College is the fiscal agent.  Columbia Basin will manage the development process and hire all faculty  and completion coaches for the pilot year.  All courses will be available at all times for student enrollment.

The enrolling college will pay Columbia Basin $2046.29 for tuition and $40 for adaptive testing for each student per six-month term. The enrolling college manages the remaining funds as normal, as well as determining what, if any, fees to charge students.  SBCTC will count the FTE  during the term the student enrolls.  So FTE will be counted in Winter for the January-July term, and Summer for the July-December term.

Colleges will use the existing WAOL shared course processes and Trusts in Canvas to share the enrollments.

Question: How is the competency-based business degree different from the existing business degree?

Answer:  The distribution requirements and courses are the same and will be transcribed as well-known five-credit transfer courses.  However, the CBE Business option offers a new way to earn a college degree, different from both face-to-face classroom instruction and traditional online instruction.

Students will:

  • Earn credit for what they know.They may draw upon existing knowledge to complete assessments.  This knowledge could come from a variety of places– prior courses, work experience, military training, etc.
  • Advance at their own pace.  Progress toward the degree is based on assessments of key competencies determined by faculty in the disciplines of the 18 courses.
  • Receive personalized support. A dedicated CBE Completion Coach will work with students to create an educational plan and a timeline tailored to him or her.  The coach will meet with the student weekly and will lead students to appropriate resources to that will move the student toward completion of the degree.
  • Start at the beginning of any of the first three months of each six-month enrollment term. Progress not limited by a traditional quarter system schedule.  Students can begin in January, February or March for a term that ends in June.  They can begin in July, August or September for the term that ends in December.  This schedule will help both students who can work faster and those students who need more time.

Question:  What about grades?

Answer:  Upon demonstrated mastery of the course competencies, students will receive one of these grades:  A (4.0), B (3.0) or I (Incomplete).  If a student takes the final assessment and does not achieve 80% mastery, the student will get help from the instructor on what is needed to be successful in the course and can retake the assessment when ready.  Incompletes will be handled as normal college incompletes.

Question: Who should choose the CBE business degree program?

Answer: The CBE Business AA is designed for self-motivated, nontraditional students who want their previous schooling, work skills, and prior knowledge to apply toward business degree. The competency-based and self-paced format of the program fits the schedules of students who must balance work and family responsibilities with educational goals. Since the coursework and assessments are delivered online, students have the opportunity to learn when and where they choose.  This program might be an especially good choice for rural students and homebound students as well.  All courses are completely online, so students need reliable access to a computer and the Internet.

Question: What is the cost to students?

Answer: For each six-month term, students pay the equivalent of full-time tuition for two quarters (approximately $2,667), plus any fees assigned by the enrolling college. During each term, students can complete as many credits as they are able.  Students will be carefully advised to make sure they can show satisfactory academic progress for financial aid purposes.

There are no textbook costs; however, students will pay $40.00 each term for access to adaptive testing.

Students are eligible for financial aid.  See more information on financial aid under Resources on this site.

Question:  Who are the instructors who teach the courses?

Answer:  Columbia Basin will hire four full-time faculty to teach math, accounting, English and economics courses.  In addition, they will hire six adjunct faculty to teach art, sociology, public speaking, biology, geology and political science.  Faculty will have appropriate disciplinary credentials and experience teaching completely online.  In addition to interacting with students on the curriculum, the faculty will develop, administer, and assess each student for mastery of the competencies.

Each student will also have a dedicated Completion Coach, also hired by Columbia Basin, to answer questions, provide advice and help keep the student on the path to completion and success.

Question:  What about accreditation?

Answer:  As lead institution, Columbia Basin College will complete a substantive change and share the information with other pilot  colleges.  NWCCU originally stated only CBC would have to submit a substantive change; however, they recently ruled that all colleges would have to submit a change.